The more I learn about the No Bystanders pledge the more it worries me. I was told it wasn’t worth debating the campaign because it has been so well received. I’m not convinced popularity is proof of merit? Nazism was once popular in Germany.
I am unfamiliar with social engineering but I wonder if the 519 No Bystanders Campaign is an example. It may seem innocuous to those who find agreement with the information being presented but what do we do with a citizen or citizens who believe one or all of the LGBT… identities, practices or actions are immoral? What do we do with the individual whose faith is that?
Is it imperative that the perceptions of the majority become absolute? What if my world is flat? Is it okay that I keep what you may call “colour-blindness”?
The 519 No Bystanders Campaign is also an education program attempting to make Canadian workplaces, services and community environments welcoming, safe and inclusive. The Hear It! Stop It! Campaign promotes actions such as sharing the No Bystanders pledge across organizations. Individuals are to ask colleagues to sign the pledge and display posters.
I see a problem with these methods. There are individuals who may for reasons secular, religious or otherwise want no part of such a campaign. Non-compliance becomes a homophobic gesture when it may be otherwise. The pledge becomes an ultimatum. Majority view and social consequence make pledging and “education” involuntary eventually. The risk is making someone’s beliefs or faith homophobic.
As the pledged group grows there is increasing pressure on individuals to participate. It can’t help but reach a point where choice disappears. Do you want to be the guy in cubicle 6 who would rather not pledge? It becomes an involuntary inoculation of information. When I was in primary school they allowed the Jehovah Witness children to stand in the hallway when the public announcement which included the national anthem and the Lord’s Prayer came on each morning.
Possibly there is no shame in being singled out as a Jehovah Witness but the No Bystanders Campaign makes homophobes out of those who do not support it. Eventually the gal in accounting will be singled out for not participating in a reformation of her own faith.
Perhaps it could be less coercive.